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Updated: 1 hour 13 min ago

Register now for TAPS 2019

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 14:00

The State Bar of Texas Paralegal Division will host the 2019 Texas Advanced Paralegal Seminar from September 18 to 20 at the DoubleTree in Austin.

“There’s No Place Like TAPS” will include CLE, socials, a keynote luncheon, and the Paralegal Division Annual Meeting on September 20.

The keynote luncheon speaker will be Judge Darlene Byrne, of the 126th Judicial District Court in Travis County. She is a commissioner on the Texas Children’s Commission; serves on the Judicial Council for National CASA; is an advisory council member for TexProtects, Partnerships for Children, and the Seedling Foundation; chair of the Texas Statewide Collaborative for Trauma-Informed Care; and on the editorial review board for the National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ Juvenile and Family Court Journal. Byrne is a member of the Travis County Juvenile Justice board and a founding team member of the Travis County Family Drug Treatment Court and the Travis County Model Court of Children, Youth and Families.

Other highlighted speakers include M. Jack Martin, president of Martin, Frost & Hill in Austin; Leigh De La Reza, a partner in Noelke Maples St. Ledger Bryant in Austin; and Judy Kostura, of Judge, Kostura & Putman in Austin.

TAPS attendees can earn up to 13 hours of advanced CLE during the seminar.

Additionally, a panel of paralegals certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization will be on hand to answer questions about preparing for and taking the TBLS certification exam.

Registration opened on June 1 and can be completed at txpd.org/TAPS. The deadline for early registration is August 6. All registrations after will include a $35 late fee.

Veterans can receive legal advice through HBF Saturday clinics

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:21

The Houston Bar Foundation’s Veterans Legal Initiative continues its traveling Saturday legal clinics of the summer with a stop in Tomball on July 13.

The Veterans Legal Initiative hosts the clinic along with the Houston Northwest Bar Association and the Montgomery County Bar Association.

The clinic will offer veterans and spouses of deceased veterans advice and counsel from volunteer attorneys in any area of law, including family law, wills and probate, consumer law, real estate and tax law, and disability and veterans benefits. Those who qualify for legal aid and are in need of ongoing legal representation may be assigned a pro bono attorney to take their case.

The clinic, which does not require an appointment, will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Tomball VA Outpatient Clinic, 1200 W. Main St., Tomball 77375.

Additional Saturday clinics:

  • Galveston (Galveston VA Outpatient Clinic, 3828 Ave. N., 77550)—July 27, 9 a.m. – noon.
  • Lake Jackson (Lake Jackson VA Outpatient Clinic, 208 Oak Drive S., 77566)—August 10, 9 a.m. – noon.
  • Katy (Katy VA Outpatient Clinic, 750 Westgreen Blvd., 77450)—September 14, 9 a.m. – noon.

For more information, go to hba.org or contact the Veterans Legal Initiative at 713-759-1133.

To view a list of other free veteran legal clinics around the state, please go to the State Bar’s Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans webpage at texasbar.com/veterans.

Two Texas attorneys named to Fastcase 50 list of top innovators

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 09:00

Two Texas attorneys were included in the annual Fastcase 50 list, which honors top innovators in the legal field.

Michael Dreeben, retired deputy solicitor general for the U.S. Department of Justice, and Shawn Tuma, a partner in Spencer Fane, were named to the list alongside other attorneys, professors, and entrepreneurs from around the world.

Dreeben was honored for his criminal law work with the Department of Justice. He is one of only seven people to have tried more than 100 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Dreeben argued his first Supreme Court case in 1989, against now-Chief Justice John Roberts.

Tuma was recognized for his cybersecurity work, including cyberrisk management, incident response, and security for a variety of companies in and outside of the law. In addition to providing consulting services to clients, he also sometimes represents them in related litigation. Tuma is an officer of the State Bar of Texas Computer & Technology Section.

In Memoriam — June 2019

Tue, 07/09/2019 - 08:09

The State Bar of Texas’ Membership Department was informed in June 2019 of the deaths of these members. We join the officers and directors of the State Bar in expressing our deepest sympathy.

Frederick P. Ahrens, 81, of Dallas, died May 29, 2019. He received his law degree from Marquette University Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1978.
William A. Allen, 71, of Austin, died April 21, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1976.
James Wade Campbell, 77, of Richardson, died May 11, 2018. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1966.
Christopher Albert Clark II, 81, of Oro Valley, Arizona, died October 5, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1993.
Stanley Crawford, 75, of Austin, died May 25, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1967.
Richard B. Davies, 96, of Houston, died April 13, 2017. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the State Bar in 1952.
Timothy Flint Davis, 83, died July 22, 2017. He received his law degree from the University of Denver College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1969.
John W. Dixon, 94, died March 19, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1948.
Cornelius T. Dorans, 88, of Plano, died May 23, 2017. He received his law degree from New York University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1992.
Lee Duggan Jr., 87, of Houston, died June 16, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1955.
Billy W. Flanagan, 67, of Mount Pleasant, died October 8, 2018. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1976.
Word Lee Gidden, 98, of Elgin, died April 30, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1949.
Leon G. Halden Jr., 83, of Kingwood, died February 6, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1960.
Edward Heller, 82, of Houston, died April 25, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Buffalo School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1979.
B.J. Lange Hoffman, 85, of New Braunfels, died May 7, 2019. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1961.
Walter M. Holcombe, 84, of League City, died March 26, 2018. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1971.
Steven Huff, 67, of Mequon, Wisconsin, died May 22, 2019. He received his law degree from Boston University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2009.
Richard P. Keeton, 81, of Houston, died April 20, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1963.
John Moore Killian, 84, of San Antonio, died May 16, 2019. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1965.
Davey Lamb, 66, of Dallas, died November 18, 2018. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1979.
Christopher Lane, 67, of Florida, died April 5, 2019. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1978.
Robert E. Lang, 75, of San Antonio, died April 26, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Akron School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1990.
Kennard Lawrence, 76, of Burton, died April 23, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1968.
Vincent Ka-Lin Lo, 68, of Sugar Land, died January 29, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1997.
Eugene O. Marquette III, 85, of Cookeville, Tennessee, died November 5, 2018. He received his law degree from Western State College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1987.
Leonard N. Martin, 88, of Boerne, died July 22, 2017. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1961.
Carol M. McGilvray, 63, of Shreveport, Louisiana, died October 21, 2018. She received her law degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1979.
Herbert H. Medsger, 90, of League City, died June 18, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1969.
Gary C. Miller, 63, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, died August 25, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1980.
Jerry Doyle Miller, 69, of Destin, Florida, died September 20, 2018. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1973.
Sean Arleigh Moore, 71, of Houston, died December 4, 2018. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1977.
William Neil, 79, of Dallas, died May 29, 2019. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1966.
Albert Perez, 74, of Fort Worth, died May 2, 2019. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974.
Jack G. Ponder, 93, of Richardson, died September 12, 2018. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1952.
Noe Reyna, 61, of Corpus Christi, died May 21, 2019. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1985.
Mary Elizabeth Rogers, 61, of Corpus Christi, died May 18, 2019. She received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1991.
Charles A. Rubiola Jr., 70, of San Antonio, died March 29, 2019. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1975.
Richard Edric Salisbury, 48, of Austin, died April 28, 2019. He received his law degree from Columbia Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2001.
John Shannon, 67, of League City, died May 21, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1976.
Stephen Shoultz, 63, of Fort Worth, died June 23, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1980.
Malcom Carey Smith, 75, of Johnson City, died June 2, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1967.
Cavitt Foster Wendlandt, 59, of Austin, died June 10, 2019. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1987.
David Vandiver Wilson II, 51, of Houston, died June 3, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1993.
William H. Yowell, 88, of Killeen, died February 6, 2017. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1951.
Thomas Michael Zulim, 60, of Hockley, died December 28, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1992.

If you would like to have a memorial for a loved one published in the Texas Bar Journal, please go to texasbar.com/memorials. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Texas Bar Journal at 512-427-1701 or toll-free at 800-204-2222, ext. 1701.

July must-reads

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 15:25

The July issue of the Texas Bar Journal is out now. What are your favorites? Here are ours from this month’s look at the changing practice of law. And don’t forget to check out the latest in Movers and Shakers, Memorials, and Disciplinary Actions.

Alexa, Testify
New sources of evidence from the internet of things.
By John G. Browning and Lisa Angelo

Developing Talent
Why are women attorneys leaving the practice of law at a point when they should be advancing in their careers?
By Belinda May Arambula

The Power of Words
Best practices in communication for lawyers, courtesy of Winston Churchill.
By Talmage Boston

Before the Bench
Unique aspects of Texas Supreme Court practice.
By Scott A. Keller

Winners of the 2019 Texas Gavel Awards announced

Wed, 07/03/2019 - 07:24

Stories that examined how Texas judges are elected and showed how law enforcement agencies are using the Texas Public Information Act to withhold information about deceased suspects are among the winners of the 2019 Texas Gavel Awards.

Journalists representing The Texas Tribune, KXAN-TV in Austin, KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi, Super Lawyers Magazine, and the Victoria Advocate were selected as winners. The Texas Gavel Awards, hosted by the State Bar of Texas Public Affairs Committee, honor journalism that deepens public understanding of the legal system.

The winners are listed below by award category, along with descriptions of their entries:

Online-only: Emma Platoff of The Texas Tribune wins for a series of articles that explored Texas’ system of partisan judicial elections. Among the issues she covered were: the perception, true or not, that judges are inclined to lean a certain way on the law based on their ideology; the low name recognition for judicial candidates, even at the highest levels of the state’s judiciary; and the possibility for partisan sweeps that can propel inexperienced judges into office based not on qualifications but on party affiliation.

Broadcast, Major Metro: An investigative team that involved Josh Hinkle, Sarah Rafique, and Andrew Choat at KXAN-TV in Austin wins for an investigation that began with questions about how a teenager, detained in the back of an Austin police cruiser, obtained a gun and shot himself and developed into the discovery of a loophole in the Texas Public Information Act that allows law enforcement agencies to withhold the details of incidents such as this from the public and even families of the deceased for decades.

Broadcast, Non-Metro: Jessica Savage of KRIS-TV Corpus Christi wins for a trio of stories following a Nueces County woman’s five-year fight to have her day in court while the defendant in the criminal case employed delaying tactics in a crowded court system.

Print, Major Metro:  Steve Knopper wins for a Super Lawyers Magazine feature in which seven Texas lawyers tell — in their own words — what it’s like to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Print, Non-Metro: Jessica Priest of the Victoria Advocate wins for a series of stories covering the Calhoun County Port Authority after it hired former U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold as a lobbyist in May 2018. Priest’s reporting uncovered that the board’s action may have violated the Texas Open Meetings Act and highlighted a general lack of oversight for ports and special purpose taxing districts. Farenthold resigned from his port position in January 2019.

The State Bar of Texas features winner bios and links to the stories at texasbar.com/gavelawards.

The State Bar of Texas will present the awards to the winners on September 20 at the John Henry Faulk Awards luncheon during the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas’ statewide conference, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency, 208 Barton Springs Road, in Austin. For more information or to register for the conference, visit foift.org.

State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting podcasts available for listeners

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 09:43

During the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting 2019 on June 13-14 in Austin, State Bar of Texas Podcast host Rocky Dhir was in full swing interviewing keynote speakers, panelists, and attendees. Working in conjunction with the Legal Talk Network, Dhir and guest hosts recorded 14 episodes on-site, which can be heard on Apple podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and the Legal Talk Network website. As a special offer, State Bar of Texas members who listen to the episode titled “State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting 2019: Josh Team and the Adaptable Lawyer” can get one hour of self-study MCLE credit. For more details, simply click on that episode page.

The Science of Speaking with Noah Zandan
Adaptable Lawyer keynote speaker Noah Zandan, CEO and co-founder of Quantified Communications, discusses how his company uses advanced data analytics to help people better convey their ideas and messages.

Representing Diverse Clients
Disability Rights Texas Senior Litigation Attorney Lia Davis and Monty & Ramirez Managing Attorney Jake Monty share their thoughts on how lawyers can better serve a diverse client base.

A View from the Bench with Judge Roy Ferguson
Judge Roy Ferguson, of the 394th Judicial District, talks about common procedural mistakes lawyers make that can put their clients’ at risk.

Free Press and the First Amendment with David McCraw
David McCraw, general counsel of the New York Times, talks about the state of the free press, the impact of new technology on journalism, and future challenges.

What Kanye Can Teach Us About Litigation
DHD Films’ Elliot Mayén and Bell Nunnally & Martin Senior Associate Brent Turman joined the podcast to talk about artist and musician Kanye West—and the lessons he can teach attorneys about litigation.

The U.S. National Debt with Larry Gibbs
Larry Gibbs, senior counsel to Miller & Chevalier and former IRS commissioner, talks about the rising national debt, urging citizens to take an interest in the topic and to take action in addressing it.

Ethical Use of Contract Lawyers with Penny Robe
Attorney Penny Robe discusses ethical ways of hiring a contract lawyer and resources practitioners can turn to.

“Get Paid and Have a Life” with Judge Audrey Moorehead
Dallas County Criminal Court 3 Judge Audrey Moorehead shares tips from her presentation on law practice management in hopes of helping attorneys to “get paid and have a life.”

Ted Boutrous and Tom Leatherbury on Open Government Law and Fake News
Tom Leatherbury, a partner in Vinson & Elkins, and Ted Boutros, of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, examine the ramifications of “fake news” and discuss whether open government law could possibly be a vaccine (or pathogen) for it.

Bench Bar Breakfast with Wil Haygood
Award-winning author and journalist Wil Haygood, the keynote speaker at the Bench Bar Breakfast on June 14, dives deep about the subject of his book Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court.

Conversation with Keynote Speaker Asha Rangappa
Asha Rangappa, a CNN analyst and former FBI agent, talks about the history, current status, and issues surrounding disinformation and “fake news” in the U.S. Rangappa delivered the keynote speech during the General Session Luncheon on June 14.

Bar Presidents Randy Sorrels and Benny Agosto Jr.
Texas Young Lawyers Association President Victor A. Flores joined Rocky Dhir to talk with State Bar President Randy Sorrels and Houston Bar Association President Benny Agosto Jr.—both of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz—about what to expert during their terms and why bar diversity is a priority. Sorrels was sworn in as president of the State Bar of Texas on June 14.

Josh Team and the Adaptable Lawyer
Keller Williams Realty President Josh Team joined host Rocky Dhir for a Q&A in front of a “live audience” to talk about how companies need nimble lawyers who can keep up with the fast pace of innovation. Team delivered a keynote address as part of the Adaptable Lawyer.

Fooding in Austin
State Bar of Texas Public Information Director Amy Starnes, State Bar Pro Bono Programs Administrator Hannah Allison, Web Content Specialist Jennifer Dunham, and Texas Bar Journal Assistant Editor Eric Quitugua discuss barbecue, doughnuts, and their favorite Austin eateries.

Houston Bar Association establishes LGBTQ+ Committee

Tue, 07/02/2019 - 09:00

Houston Bar Association President Benny Agosto Jr.’s newly formed LGBTQ+ Committee will meet July 8 to set goals and discuss programming for the upcoming year, including participation in the HBA Diversity Summit on July 11.

“As our nation prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, it is important that our bar association recognizes there is much work to be done to ensure diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, as well as in our communities,” Agosto said. “We are proud to work alongside organizations like the Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston to make sure that everyone has equal opportunities under the rule of law.”

Agosto has planned the Diversity Summit as a celebration of the HBA’s history of inclusion and outreach, as well as a program to educate attorneys and non-attorneys on implicit bias, the gender spectrum, allyship, seeking and retaining a diverse workforce, gender fairness and the changing face of parental responsibility, and business development.

Founding members of the bar association’s LGBTQ+ Committee:

  • Judge Steve Kirkland,of the 334th District Court—Co-chair;
  • Judge Darryl Moore,of the 333rd District Court—Co-chair;
  • Judge Kim Ogg,Harris County District Attorney—Co-chair;
  • Judge Alice Oliver-Parrott,of Alice Oliver-Parrott, P.C.;
  • Travis Torrence,of Shell Oil Company;
  • Deborah Lawson,of the Stonewall Law Association of Greater Houston;
  • Bryan Vezey,of Cozen O’Connor;
  • Lena Laurenzo,of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz;
  • Jessica Rodriguez,of the Ramsey Law Group;
  • Joseph Sanchez,of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office;
  • Charles Shaw,of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office;
  • Benny Agosto Jr.,of the Houston Bar Association;
  • Mindy Davidson,of the Houston Bar Association; and
  • Tara Shockley,of the Houston Bar Association

For more information on the Diversity Summit and LGBTQ+ Committee, go to hba.org/committees/lgbtq.

Texas attorneys honored by ABAYLD

Mon, 07/01/2019 - 15:13

Tiye Foley, Michael Ritter, and Ryan V. Cox received On the Rise—Top 40 Young Lawyers Awards from the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

The ABA’s On the Rise award program began in 2016 and has provided “national recognition for ABA young lawyer members who exemplify a broad range of high achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal and community service,” according to its website. Candidates for the awards are ABA members, licensed to practice in the U.S. or its territories, are 36 or young, and are nominated by those familiar with their professional work.

Foley is an attorney with Exxon Mobil Corporation’s Environmental and Safety Law group and previously worked in litigation with Baker Donelson. In private practice, she focused on creditor lawsuits, commercial disputes, and bad-faith insurance claims. Foley also has a background in mechanical engineering, which aids her intellectual property and environmental cases. In addition to practicing law, she spearheads monthly legal clinics in the Houston area as chair of the NAACP-Houston Legal Redress Committee and is on the board of directors for and general counsel to JJ’s I’m Me Foundation, which is a nonprofit that hosts life-development workshops for at-risk girls.

Ritter has worked extensively with the state’s court system, including the Texas Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, and currently the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio. He’s drafted more than 350 opinions and worked on more than 700 appellate matters. Ritter has authored more than 30 law review articles and legal publications, with one being cited by the Texas Supreme Court. Outside of his law practice, he co-owns a business to help students in 47 states and six countries develop argumentation and presentation skills; promotes access to justice and diversity through the Texas Young Lawyers Association, or TYLA, and San Antonio Young Lawyers Association, or SAYLA; served as president of the San Antonio LGBT Bar Association and Texas Association of Appellate Court Attorneys; and volunteered with nonprofits that help LGBTQ youth, people living with HIV, and single parents without transportation.

Cox is a senior attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project in San Antonio, where he works on voting rights litigation in state and federal courts, with a focus on addressing systemic issues that prevent voter access to the polls. He previously was a briefing attorney with the 13th Court of Appeals and clerked with the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas. Cox is a TYLA director and has worked on local affiliate programs and projects that address fair housing and eviction cycles. He has also previously served the SAYLA as a director and president in 2017-2018, a year when its projects won ABAYLD Service to the Bar, Service to the Public, and Comprehensive Programming Awards, as well as the W. Frank Newton Award from the State Bar of Texas in recognition of efforts to increase legal services to the poor.

The ABA’s On the Rise award program began in 2016 and has provided “national recognition for ABA young lawyer members who exemplify a broad range of high achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal and community service,” according to its website. Candidates for the awards are ABA members, licensed to practice in the U.S. or its territories, are 36 or young, and are nominated by those familiar with their professional work.

For a full list of 2019’s award winners, go to americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/awards_scholarships/on_the_rise/2019-honorees.

 

Stories of Recovery: Today My Life Is Good

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 10:47

Editor’s note: TLAP offers confidential assistance for lawyers, law students, and judges with substance abuse or mental health issues. Call TLAP at 1-800-343-8527 (TLAP) or find more information at tlaphelps.org.

Law school made me an alcoholic, or to be fair to law school, it was during law school that I crossed over to alcoholism. In college, I used to drink on weekends and sometimes got drunk. But I could decide when I wanted to get drunk. In law school, drinking was a major social component of my life and was a good way to relax and unwind from the stress of the day. But I began to lose the power of choice in terms of my drinking—I got drunk when I did not intend to, and I started to drink to black out, embarrassing my friends and myself.

I graduated, passed the bar, practiced law, got married, went into academia, had children, published articles, and received promotions and tenure all while I was still an active alcoholic. I was a “functioning” alcoholic and was able to practice my profession, attend church, volunteer in many community activities, and still be a good spouse and parent, or so I thought. I needed a drink desperately every day when I got home though, and after that, I might or might not remember the evening. I was not “present” for most of my adult life, and I was depressed, anxious, and angry at home.

Being in academics, I “audited” 12-step programs for many years before I got sober. I knew there was a problem, but being a well-educated person, I thought I could think, reason, or study my way to a solution. I attended hundreds of meetings and read dozens of books, but I could not deal with the reality that the only solution to my problem was to stop drinking.

For me, the crisis came when my spouse decided that our marriage was over. I very much loved my spouse and our life together. I could not imagine not seeing my children every day, nor splitting up the life we had built together. But we separated. I started to attend 12-step meetings and began the long journey to sobriety.

I committed to that program of recovery and particularly came to love and respect the people in our local legal professionals group. I went to the weekly meetings and found people who understood my problem, including the incredulity and pain of asking oneself, How did a smart and talented person like me get here? I have a good job, a nice home and family, and I am an active and productive member of the community. How can I be an alcoholic? I met lawyers like me, personable and functional, yet defeated by their addictions and depression. That first year I also attended the annual Texas Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers convention and found even more attorneys who shared my problem—and showed me that a solution was possible.

After a year sober, my life, objectively, was good, but I was separated and getting divorced. I cried every day and began to suffer from thoughts of suicide. I could not sleep and felt that everyone, except possibly my children, would be better off without me. I still had enough sense to realize that I really did not want to kill myself, so I began seeing a psychiatrist and counselor and started on a true road to recovery.

Since that time, now several years ago, I have come to realize that I used alcohol to treat my underlying problems of anxiety and depression. When the alcoholic “medicine” was removed from my system, it was important to get professional treatment since the 12-step program alone could not treat the mental health problems I had. I also now understand that depression is not a “character defect” or personality flaw that can be removed by prayer, service to others, or efforts of will. Depression, like alcohol, can be a sneaky and lifelong disease that needs to be treated and monitored.

Today my life is good. I remarried, my first spouse and I remained friends, and we did a great job raising two wonderful children. I have true friends, and I have my career and it has thrived. I go to meetings regularly and reconnect with friends at the annual Texas LCL conference.

I still have problems, insecurities, worries, and occasionally, a really bad day. However, I now know the difference between a genuine problem and an inconvenience. I value my friends and family and am actually there for them, rather than passed out on the couch or lying in bed with a hangover. Best of all, the future is something I look forward to.

TCDLA to honor Declaration of Independence

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 09:00

The Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, or TCDLA, will honor the Declaration of Independence with public readings across the state on July 3.

The readings will take place in about 140 communities across Texas and will celebrate the 243rd anniversary of independence from Great Britain.

“We are proud to emphasize the patriotism associated with Independence Day,” said TCDLA President Kerri Anderson-Donica in a press release. “TCDLA recognizes the Declaration of Independence as the bedrock document that not only liberated the colonies but eventually led to the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the American rule of law—concepts criminal defense lawyers use every day to protect individual liberties in courthouses across the land.”

For more information, contact Robert Fickman at 713-655-7400 or at rfickman@gmail.com, or Chuck Lanehart at 806-535-2689 or at chucklanehart@hotmail.com.

Scams Continue to Target Texas Attorneys

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 12:37

Update 6/27/2019: We received reports of two more scams. An attorney reported two scams he has received via email. In the first one and the one he receives most often, he receives an email from “Alexis Berger.” The email generally contains the following information: “I am seriously in need of your legal assistance. i lent my brother-in-law some money and has refused to pay back i checked your profile and find your firm capable of assisting me in my legal issue. Here is my email address alexisberger231@gmail.com. Mr Alexis Berger.”  The email address usually varies by the numbers at the end of the scammer’s name and is always at gmail.com. This scam has also been reported by numerous attorneys in the United States and Canada. The second email the attorney received is an email from “Shin Okura” with Tokai Electronics, a Japanese company, apparently looking to bring a claim against a local Houston company for unpaid invoices. Invoices and documents were also provided which looked very suspicious and altered. This scam has also been reported by law firms in Canada.

Update 6/24/2019: We received a report of another scam. An attorney was contacted by a scammer who requested to retain the attorney’s representation for a dog bite case. The scammer claimed they were bit by a dog, that the dog’s owner had agreed to pay a settlement for medical expenses, and that the dog owner had not yet paid. The attorney was also contacted by the person claiming to be the dog owner, who was part of the scam. The dog owner claimed to want to pay the settlement to the scammer through the attorney and out of court. The scammer also used photos from a news story in the UK that they claimed showed the dog bite. This same scam has been reported in other states, with the scammer using different cities where the dog bite incident occurred.

Update 5/31/2019: We received a report of another scam. An attorney was recently made aware that an unknown individual going by the name Simon Grant has stolen the attorney’s name, bar number, and publicly available contact information. The scammer contacts victims by email and is using the attorney’s information to defraud individuals by claiming to be the attorney or be employed by the attorney. The scammer also created a false website which has since been taken down.

Update 3/13/19: We received a report of another scam. A Texas attorney received an email inquiry for a new case through the attorney’s firm website. The scammer requested to retain the firm for help in getting repayment for a loan. A copy of the supposed loan agreement was sent to the firm. The address used for the loan borrower is local to the firm’s location. The address the scammer listed as their own is located in Hong Kong. The scammer used the name Mr. Zhang Chang. A similar scam by someone with that name was previously reported by two Ontario law firms.

Update 1/30/2018: We received a report of another scam. A Texas attorney recently received an email that is part of an ongoing scam directed to attorneys in which the scammer is attempting to get the attorney to wire real funds after receiving fraudulent payments (bad checks or fake credit cards). The text of the email is as follows:

Hello,

I am in need of your legal assistance regarding a breach of loan agreement I provided a friend of mine in the amount of $750,000. He needed this loan to complete an ongoing project he was handling last year. He now resides in your jurisdiction and the loan was for 24 months with interest accrued at the rate of 7.5%. The capital and interest were supposed to be paid May last year but he has only paid $50,000 which was in October.

Please let me know if this falls within the scope of your practice, so that I can provide you with the loan documents and any further information you need to know.

Thanks,

Scott Steinberg.

Update 1/25/2018: We received a report of another scam. A Texas law firm received an inquiry through their website asking if they could draw up a contract for the sale of used construction heavy equipment. The firm responded asking for more details, and the “seller” in Florida sent a detailed appraisal and photograph of the equipment, complete with serial number and a signed letter of intent from a buyer in Texas. The “seller”, “buyer,” and “broker” information all checked out online in Florida, and the “buyer” information also checked out on the Texas Secretary of State website. All were legitimate businesses involved in that type of transaction.

The “seller” signed the engagement letter and sent a paper check from New York that looked legitimate and appeared to be issued by the “buyer.” The firm deposited the check into their trust account. Later that week, the “seller” asked them to wire part of the funds for an inspection of the equipment. Because the check hadn’t cleared the firm’s bank and the wire was to a location in Asia, the firm didn’t send the money, and they inspected further.

The firm called the “seller” who answered using the name of the legitimate Florida businessman. He provided a number during that call that went to a recorded voicemail matching the “broker” details. They called a phone number from the broker’s website, and the real broker answered and said they were the second firm that week to call him (the other was from Delaware), that a scammer had ripped off his letterhead and information, and that he was not involved in any transaction like they described. The firm also contacted the “buyer” using an independent number they found, and the local person who answered said that he ran a legitimate business but was not buying any equipment and knew nothing of the transaction.

The firm contacted their bank, and the bank president contacted the issuing check bank. The issuing check bank was a real bank, but the check and account number with that bank were phony.

Update 11/15/2017: We have received a report of another scam. A person in Australia was contacted by a scammer using a Texas attorney’s information. The person who was contacted was scammed previously and lost money, and he believes it is the same scammers who are contacting him again. In the emails, the scammers say they can recover the person’s money for him from a company, Norton Pearce Associates, that has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Update 9/13/17: We have received a report of another scam. A person in New York received a phone call from someone claiming to be her grandson, who lives in Texas. She was told that he was in jail and needed bail money. They told her to call (877) 386-6064 for the Bradford Law Firm and ask for attorney Allen Roberts. The phone number has been disconnected, and the Texas attorney Allen Roberts is deceased.

Update 7/13/17: We received a report from an attorney who was contacted through their firm Facebook page and by e-mail by someone who claims that the attorney represents them in a lawsuit in Kenya. The person is not a client of the firm, and they have no record of any previous communication with the person.

Update 6/26/17: We received a report of another scam targeting Texas attorneys. An attorney received a scam email seeking representation to draft a purchase and sales agreement for a boat sale. The scammer sent the email using another attorney’s name in the email address. View the scam email attachment.

Update 5/26/17: We received a report of another scam targeting Texas attorneys.

A lawyer received a call from someone purporting to be from the State Bar of Texas. The caller, who identified the date the lawyer was admitted to practice law in Texas, offered the attorney a half-year free membership and listed associated benefits. After the attorney refused and ended the conversation, the caller attempted to contact another lawyer in his office but was stopped by the receptionist.

The State Bar of Texas Membership Department does not call attorneys with special offers for membership dues.

Update 5/4/17: We received reports of two more scams targeting Texas attorneys.

A law firm received emails from a person asking to hire the firm to collect payment for goods provided to a third party. The firm also received an email from the third party. Both emails were fake. The firm also received a check as a retainer, and upon verification with the Canadian bank listed on the check, confirmed it was fake. View the scam emails and fraudulent check.

Another law firm received several scam emails within a few days of each other from different senders from locations in Europe, the Netherlands, Africa, and the United States. The emails were requests for various legal services including help with a real estate loan default, seeking assistance with an investment, and drafting a purchase and sales agreement for a drilling rig. The firm also received a fake out of office reply email from a sender they did not contact.

Update 4/17/17: We received a report of another scam in which a law firm’s accounting department received an email purporting to be from the president of the firm, instructing them to pay a statement for $19,500 for professional service. When accounting requested more information, the president responded that the email was not from him. The address it appeared to come from was exeuva@comcast.net.

Update 4/11/2017: We received reports of two more scams targeting Texas attorneys.

An attorney received a phishing email. He tried to open an email which appeared to be from a referring attorney sending documents via DocuSign. Over 20 people on his contact list also received the email. The hackers sent out thousands of fake emails to his contacts which appeared to be coming from him. The hackers also responded to inquiries from his contacts questioning if the phishing email was legitimate.

Another attorney received a fraudulent check. He received a $400,000 check that cleared his bank and was told it was part of a $1,000,000 deal. He also received a second payment. He received instructions to deduct his fee and wire the remaining funds to Kenya. He called his bank to verify the check. The check had a name and address on it that appeared to belong to an oil company but was that of a U.S. insurance company.

Update 3/9/2017: We have received a report of a phishing scam targeting Texas attorneys. The scammer stated they were seeking legal counsel. View a copy of the scam email.

Update: 2/23/17: We have received reports of another scam email targeting Texas attorneys. Some attorneys have received emails that appear to be coming from another attorney. It appears that the scammer was able to access attorneys’ email address books for the purpose of forwarding the e-mail from one attorney to another giving the appearance that it is a referral. It is apparently a scam enlisting attorneys to prepare legal documents upon receiving a cashier’s check deposited in trust accounts with an overpayment of legal fees being returned to the scammer from the attorney’s trust account. The initial payment is fraudulent.

Law firms in Canada and the UK have received similar e-mails.

The scam emails are coming from the following accounts with the name Tijmen Smit: systemspecified@yahoo.com and jamescrosbyhalifax@yahoo.co.uk.

Update: 9/23/16: A San Antonio lawyer has notified the State Bar of Texas that he received a fraudulent check as part of an attempted scam. View the fraudulent check and scam letter.

Update 2/26/16: We received a report about another fraudulent check scam targeting attorneys.

Update 2/3/16: We received a report of a new scam targeting clients of attorneys. Scammers are “spoofing” phone numbers of attorneys and calling clients to get money. Read the full story.

Update 10/23/15: The State Bar of Texas has been alerted to a potential email scam involving a debt collection. On October 20, a Fort Sam Houston attorney received an email from a sender who claimed that she had lent a sum of money to a borrower, and that the borrower had not yet repaid the loan in full and had since moved to Texas. The sender claimed she was seeking legal assistance in the matter and requested information about the attorney’s fees. The message also included a copy of two checks (here and here) and an alleged loan agreement promissory note.

Update 10/8/15: We received a recent report of a scam targeting attorneys. An attorney was contacted by a company and received a bogus check. Read the details on this fraudulent check scam.

Update 2/26/15. We have received a report of a scam from an attorney who received a request for assistance. She spoke on the phone to the proposed client, who asked that a buyer send the firm a 15 percent deposit from a purchase price to use as a retainer, that the firm bill their fees against it, and return the remainder to the client. Upon further searching, the attorney uncovered a scam.

Update 6/4/14. We received a report this week about a sophisticated scam involving collection with a fraudulent certified check that has affected at least three Texas attorneys. Read the details here. 

10/18/13. We received a report today that the name of a San Antonio law firm is being used in a debt collection scam, where scammers apparently obtained files from a payday loan company. The scammers are calling people all over the country, saying they are with the law firm, and threatening the people with arrest if they do not immediately pay their debts. Law enforcement and the Secret Service in San Antonio are investigating the matter.

9/17/13

Texas attorneys should be extra-vigilant regarding potential scams involving fraudulent checks or wire transfers. These scams are increasing in sophistication, sometimes involving innocent third parties who seek legal services at the request of a scam artist.

The bottom line is this: Never issue a check from a trust account until deposited funds have been collected.

Scam scenarios include:

  • a request for help in collecting a divorce settlement from an ex-spouse
  • unsolicited email requests for legal help collecting money or judgments, sometimes apparently coming from actual professionals whose identities have been stolen
  • a real estate transaction for an overseas client (whose identity was stolen by a scam artist) involving an innocent third-party realtor
  • impersonation of law firms by scam artists who issue bogus checks and attempt to charge a fee for the checks to clear
  • a bogus check received by a law firm, purportedly for payment regarding representation of an inmate
  • impersonation of a lawyer and law firm by a scammer “collecting debts” under the attorney’s name

Again, be vigilant and do not disburse funds from your accounts until underlying funds have cleared your bank (and not simply been made “available”).

Cases involving bank fraud are investigated by the Secret Service. If you are targeted, contact an office in your area. Internet fraud should be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

If a scam has targeted you or your firm, please leave a comment below describing the scenario or tactics the scammer used.

TYLA president receives TCAA Susan Rocha Award

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 14:00

Texas Young Lawyers Association President Victor A. Flores received the Texas City Attorneys Association Susan Rocha Award for Outstanding Public Service by an Assistant City Attorney at the annual summer conference June 19-21 in San Antonio.

Flores, assistant city attorney for the city of Plano, was recently sworn-in as 2019-2020 TYLA president at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting on June 14 in Austin. The Susan Rocha Award recognizes and honors a current or former assistant city attorney for significant and distinguished career achievements in the field of municipal law. Because of Rocha’s work with smaller cities, the TCAA grants one award each year to an assistant city attorney from any city other than Texas’ eight largest (Arlington, Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio).

For more information about TCAA, go to texascityattorneys.org, and for more information about TYLA, go to tyla.org.

50 Years to Make a Bad Year Better

Wed, 06/26/2019 - 08:00

This January 26, 1969, photograph is the only known photo taken in Vietnam of Lee Roy Herron, the Marine in the right foreground wearing glasses and holding a small Bible in his hands. (Marine Corps photo, taken by Pfc. C. E. Sickler Jr. on Jan. 26, 1969, at Fire Support Base Razor in Vietnam)

As Americans we rightfully celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the sacrifices made, while struggling to reconcile with Vietnam War deaths 50 years ago. Although I spent three years on active duty in the Marine Corps in the early 1970s, I was stationed safely in Okinawa, Japan, when the United States’ combat operations in the Vietnam War ended in early 1973, and never saw combat. But that war has had a lasting impact on me this past half century—bad “side effects” from one year in particular.

Over a lifetime we learn that certain years are worse than others. Sometimes we wish that we could relive the bad years and make different choices. Other times we become motivated to make up for previous failures or to right a wrong.

1969 was a distinctly bad year for me. That February I almost died in Dallas. While doing some roofing work on a three-story apartment building on a cold and misty day, I slipped and fell to the ground below, breaking three ribs and splitting open my chin. I was rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital where President John F. Kennedy had been taken when he was assassinated in 1963. The doctor sewed up my chin, announced there was nothing he could do for my broken ribs, and sent me on my way. I was aimlessly wandering the hospital halls when my wife found me and took me home.

While still recovering from my injuries, I learned that my close friend Lee Roy Herron had been killed in Vietnam on February 22, 1969. But I knew little of the circumstances. I thought, What a waste of a remarkable young man’s life. To top it off, when our troops were returning from Vietnam in 1969, much of America had become so hardened against the war that military personnel were often treated with disrespect and disdain. To this day I consider that dishonoring of our troops to be a disgrace and black mark on our country.

For years after 1969 I was haunted by Herron’s death. I struggled with the question of why a just God would allow such a promising young man to die in a futile war. When I first saw his name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., it was a sad moment filled with regret.

It was almost three decades later that I discovered exactly how he died. In August 1997, I heard a retired Medal of Honor recipient, Marine Corps Col. Wesley L. Fox speak. He mentioned that in a key Vietnam battle, a “stout young man from West Texas named Lee Herron” had helped save the day by destroying an enemy machine gun bunker, receiving the Navy Cross posthumously. I was stunned but elated that my friend’s death had not been in vain. He had saved the lives of numerous other Marines.

That night, around 2 a.m., I awoke with a determination to see that Herron was properly honored, remembered, and respected. It was as if I had received a personal mission from God.

Since then I have helped endow a scholarship in Lee Roy’s name at Texas Tech University’s Vietnam Center and Archive, co-authored a book about him with former Marine Randolph Schiffer, and published numerous articles that commemorate his heroism and legacy.

In February 2019, it was 50 years since Herron’s death and my close call with that ultimate fate. Perhaps now is not only a fitting time to recall a particularly bad year in my life, but also to observe that perhaps I have been able to make 1969 a better year after all, especially for Lee Roy’s family—and me. Hopefully, others also will be able to better reconcile the D-Day success with the Vietnam War and more recent war casualties and failures—and to make some bad years better.

David Nelson is a Texas attorney and former Marine Corps captain. He was serving in Okinawa as a judge advocate when the Vietnam War ended in January 1973.

DVAP hosts free legal clinics for Dallas County residents in July

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 16:53

The Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program, an initiative of the Dallas Bar Association and Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, is hosting 9 free legal clinics for county residents who meet financial guidelines. The clinics, which will be held throughout July, will offer legal advice and consultation in civil matters.

Applicants are asked to bring proof of income, identification, and legal papers. For more information, go to dallasvolunteerattorneyprogram.org. For media inquiries, contact DVAP Director Michelle Alden at 214-243-2234.

Clinics begin at 5 p.m., with the exception of the veteran’s clinic, which begins at 1:30 p.m.

Schedules and locations:

East Dallas (Grace United Methodist Church—4105 Junius St., Dallas 75246)

  • Thursday—July 18

South Dallas (Martin Luther King, Jr. Center—2922 MLK Blvd., Dallas 75215)

  • Tuesdays—July 2, July 9, and July 23

West Dallas (2828 Fish Trap Rd., Dallas 75212)

  • Thursdays—July 11 and July 25

Garland (Salvation Army—451 W. Avenue D, Garland 75040)

  • Thursday—July 18

Friendship West Baptist Church (2020 West Wheatland Rd., Dallas 75232)

  • Wednesday—July 17

Veterans Resource Center (for veterans and their families only—4900 S. Lancaster Rd., Dallas 75216)—1:30 p.m.

  • Friday—July 5

 

To view a list of other free veteran legal clinics around the state, please go to the State Bar’s Texas Lawyers for Texas Veterans website at texasbar.com/veterans.

Texas Capital Bank joins Texas Access to Justice Foundation Prime Partner Bank program

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 10:00

Texas Capital Bank is the newest member of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation’s Prime Partner Bank program.

Prime Partner banks and credit unions voluntarily pay higher interest rates for Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts, or IOLTA, to raise money for civil legal aid and to support improvements to the justice system.

“Texas Capital Bank is committed to helping communities prosper through strategic investments that serve the needs of low-to-moderate-income individuals, families and communities,” Texas Capital Bank CEO and President Keith Cargill said in a news release. “This is an important and innovative way for the private sector to increase access to justice for disadvantaged Texans needing legal assistance.”

Texas Capital Bank is one of nearly 60 banks in the Prime Partner Bank program. See a current list of partner banks in Texas here.

State Bar board to meet June 12-13 in Austin

Wed, 06/12/2019 - 07:56

The State Bar of Texas Board of Directors will meet June 12-13 in Austin.

The Wednesday meeting will begin at 1 p.m. at the JW Marriott Lone Star Ballroom D, 110 E. 2ndSt. The Thursday meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the same location.

Members of the public are welcome to attend.

Click here to view the meeting agendas and materials.

Fifth Circuit seeks comments on proposed rule changes

Tue, 06/11/2019 - 11:00

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit is accepting comments about proposed amendments to 5th Circuit Procedures 6, 8, 11, 15, 18, 19, and 20.

Read the full notice, which includes the proposed redline changes, on the court’s website.

The court is accepting written comments through July 1 by email at changes@ca5.uscourts.gov or by mail at:

Clerk of Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
ATTN: Rule Changes
600 S. Maestri Place
New Orleans, LA 70130

In Memoriam – May 2019

Mon, 06/10/2019 - 12:41

The State Bar of Texas’ Membership Department was informed in May 2019 of the deaths of these members. We join the officers and directors of the State Bar in expressing our deepest sympathy.

Henry John Albach IV, 70, of Nantucket, Massachusetts, died April 23, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1978.
J. Michael Alexander, 72, of Dallas, died May 13, 2018. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1970.
John Batoon, 63, of El Paso, died August 19, 2018. He received his law degree from Pepperdine School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1982.
Morris Belilove, 91, of Houston, died April 17, 2019. He received his law degree from Boston University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1955.
Roy L. Bell Jr., 87, of Odessa, died November 26, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1953.
Philip Richard Bienski, 59, of Bryan, died September 17, 2018. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1988.
George Clift Black Jr., 80, of Plano, died January 6, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1964.
James Ray Caton, 84, of Seminole, died January 20, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1965.
Michele Chimene, 61, of Houston, died January 31, 2019. She received her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1992.
Thomas Claxton, 67, of Gainesville, died April 26, 2019. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1983.
Robert W. Coller, 95, of Bellaire, died March 16, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1957.
Brian Edward Davis, 55, of New Braunfels, died May 7, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1992.
A. Lerue Dixon III, 75, of Jacksonville, died March 3, 2019. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1970.
Stanley Dodd, 92, of Sarasota, Florida, died August 25, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1956.
Harry A. Dolan, 86, of East Haddam, Connecticut, died November 10, 2018. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1973.
Henry W. DuBois Jr., 70, of Dallas, died May 6, 2019. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974.
Karen Duncan, 62, of New Orleans, Louisiana, died December 7, 2018. She received her law degree from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2007.
Sydney F. Ewing, 79, of Boerne, died May 25, 2018. She received her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1988.
John M. Flatten Jr., 83, of Houston, died April 26, 2019. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1960.
Saul Friedman, 100, of Houston, died November 22, 2016. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1940.
Erika Glenn, 37, of Houston, died March 25, 2019. She received her law degree from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2012.
Ryan Gubler, 39, of Arlington, Virginia, died April 3, 2019. He received his law degree from Texas A&M University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2016.
Charles B. Harris, 90, of Fort Worth, died July 24, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1957.
William R. Hefner, 88, of Brentwood, Tennessee, died May 27, 2016. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1971.
Julian D. Helms, 86, of Humble, died May 17, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1956.
Thomas E. Hennessey, 94, of San Antonio, died March 18, 2018. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1951.
Christopher S. Heroux, 60, of Denver, Colorado, died April 26, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Tulsa College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1988.
Gerald T. Holtzman, 71, of Houston, died January 8, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1973.
Gordon Houser, 78, of Cedar Park, died April 9, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1963.
Clyde M. Hudson, 89, of Rockwall, died May 3, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1954.
Jon Hughes, 94, of Tomball, died October 14, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1949.
Thomas G. Johnson, 94, of Dallas, died April 3, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1971.
Marla D. Jones, 58, of The Woodlands, died April 19, 2019. She received her law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1986.
James H. Kepner, 94, of Houston, died April 13, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1958.
Ramon Arthur Klitzke, 90, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, died March 29, 2019. He received his law degree from Indiana University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1960.
Andrew Krafsur, 57, of El Paso, died April 25, 2019. He received his law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1986.
David Lingbeck, 63, of the Twin Cities area, Minnesota, died March 3, 2019. He received his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1987.
George McConnell, 89, of Katy, died May 8, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1960.
Dan W. McCrary, 72, of Tomball, died November 26, 2018. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974.
Robert Joe McLean, 73, of Mountain Brook, Alabama, died April 14, 2018. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1973.
William McNeal, 61, of Fountain Hills, Arizona, died October 17, 2018. He received his law degree from Widener University Commonwealth Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2011.
Dan McNery, 72, of Round Rock, died April 30, 2019. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1971.
Ray Jackson McQuary, 79, of Kingwood, died April 16, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1972.
Linda G. Middleton, 68, of Little Elm, died March 3, 2019. She received her law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974.
Patrick Mulligan, 55, of Dallas, died May 1, 2019. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1989.
Robert Patrick Murphy, 77, of Bend, Oregon, died February 19, 2019. He received his law degree from Duke University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1980.
Tom Parker, 84, of Midland, died May 2, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1958.
James L. Parrish, 81, of Dallas, died November 29, 2018. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1974.
William Drake Patterson, 90, of Dallas, died May 12, 2019. He received his law degree from Southern Methodist University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1958.
Lloyd Perkins, 92, of Sherman, died May 2, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1953.
William C. Phelps, 84, of Houston, died March 19, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Missouri School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1981.
Walter P. Purcell, 90, of Bastrop, died January 28, 2019. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1956.
Steven P. Reynolds, 57, of North Attleboro, Massachusetts, died January 25, 2019. He received his law degree from Rutgers Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1988.
Robert Rice IV, 76, of Montgomery, died January 4, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1967.
Milton H. Riemer, 85, of Austin, died September 3, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1987.
Donald Gene Ritter, 83, of Houston, died January 11, 2017. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1961.
John Daniel Roosa, 76, of Midland, died March 20, 2019. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1973.
Richard E. Rudeloff, 93, of Beeville, died July 19, 2017. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1950.
Franklin P. Samples, 85, of Bakersfield, California, died April 8, 2018. He received his law degree from Samford University Cumberland School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1979.
Roberto Sanchez, 50, of El Paso, died December 30, 2018. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1999.
Thomas Sharp, 96, of Richardson, died December 4, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1948.
Hornor N. Shelton, 93, of Waco, died March 23, 2018. He received his law degree from Baylor Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1949.
Steven E. Sherwood, 69, of Alexandria, Virginia, died December 17, 2018. He received his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1979.
Cheryl Annell Smith, 63, of Houston, died May 6, 2019. She received her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1982.
Allen Sparkman, 73, of Houston, died April 25, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1973.
Kent Lee Talbot, 63, of Fort Worth, died March 3, 2019. He received his law degree from BYU J. Reuben Clark Law School and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1991.
Douglas Taylor, 70, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, died August 10, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1993.
Ernest Charles Terry, 75, of Houston, died October 15, 2018. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1991.
Sparks P. Veasey III, 67, of Burleson, died December 3, 2018. He received his law degree from South Texas College of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 2002.
Penelope Rhude Viteo, 66, of San Antonio, died May 1, 2019. She received her law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1978.
Rachel Anne Vrana, 54, of Carlsbad, California, died March 7, 2019. She received her law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1990.
Sidney Joseph Walker, 97, of Conroe, died August 12, 2017. He received his law degree from the University of Miami School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1980.
Robert A. Wallace, 78, of Dallas, died May 14, 2019. He received his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1965.
Russell L. Welch, 75, of Denton, died April 19, 2019. He received his law degree from Texas Tech University School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1973.
Holloway Wooten, 80, of Washington, D.C., died May 28, 2017. He received his law degree from Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1965.

If you would like to have a memorial for a loved one published in the Texas Bar Journal, please go to texasbar.com/memorials. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Texas Bar Journal at 512-427-1701 or toll-free at 800-204-2222, ext. 1701.

Lawyers Are Leaders: Applying the Air Force’s Core Values to Your Daily Practice

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 15:00

Several months ago, I read an article published in the Texas Bar Journal that identified the waning perception of lawyers as leaders in society (“Lawyers as Citizen Leaders,” by Leon Jaworski, February 2018, pp. 90-93). This reality continues to haunt me. In a world desperate for leadership, lawyers are—and must continue to be—leaders. Members of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps provide a seminal example of leadership in the legal profession. For military officers/JAGs, leadership is an inherent duty. Unlike military officers, however, lawyers are not taught leadership nor equipped with a given set of principles in which to apply to one’s daily practice. This article seeks to change that. For members of the U.S. Air Force, three “core values” provide the bedrock of service and leadership. These principles equally apply to the larger legal profession. Incorporating these “core values” into your daily practice offers an excellent way to work toward leaving a legacy of leadership for our society and future legal practitioners.

Integrity First
The Air Force core values begin with “integrity first.” There is a reason it was placed at the front. Above all else, military officers must ensure integrity in all they do. Enshrined in the Air Force Memorial are the words of former Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Ronald R. Fogleman: “We’re entrusted with the security of our nation. The tools of our trade are lethal, and we engage in operations that involve risk to human life and untold national treasure. Because of what we do, our standards must be higher than those of society at large.” The same must be said of legal practitioners. While lawyers do not carry instruments of kinetic destruction, our tools are equally powerful and, at times, equally devastating. For this reason, integrity must be at the heart of our profession, guaranteeing the trust of those we are sworn to protect.

A lawyer’s personal life must demonstrate an equal measure of integrity. Military members are continuously reminded that duty to the nation is not a part-time job; it is 24/7, requiring persistent adherence to the principles that make our military great. Similarly, lawyers do not shed their obligations at the end of the workday. As Gen. George S. Patton once said, “You are always on parade.” Those who know our profession and role in society are always watching. As a result, we have a duty to maintain the highest standards of conduct and civility, both on and off the job. We must always uphold the trust society provides us by living a life of integrity. The American people deserve—and expect—nothing less.

Service Before Self
The Air Force’s second core value is “service before self.” Former Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. John P. Jumper, once stated, “Service before self is that virtue within us all which elevates the human spirit, compels us to reach beyond our meager selves to attach our spirit to something bigger than we are.” Service requires significant sacrifice, calling servicemembers to routinely place the mission and others above their own lives and well-being.

Members of the JAG Corps are no strangers to sacrifice. My time away from home and family is measured in years rather than days or months. Deployments usually last from six months to a year in often austere and dangerous conditions. My most recent deployment was to an undisclosed location in the Middle East, where I served as staff judge advocate for a combat fighter wing battling the Islamic State. For six months, I had the pleasure of working with the best fighter pilots—and leaders—in the world, averaging roughly 14-hour days, seven days a week. These experiences are nowhere near unique or special to servicemembers across the country. It is simply what we are called to do.

Just like military servicemembers, the law is a calling that demands the very best. We, too, serve something far bigger than ourselves: the defense and sustainment of the rule of law. Lawyers are accustomed to long hours, late nights, and full days in fulfilling this mission. Whether facing criminal charges or civil dispute, clients enter our offices on their worst days seeking our knowledge and legal expertise. They rely upon this advice. We must serve them well, placing their interests above our own when necessary. It is simply what we are called to do.

Excellence in All We Do
The final Air Force core value is “excellence in all we do.” According to former Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Michael E. Ryan, “That commitment to excellence is more than desirable; in the profession of arms, it’s essential. Lives depend on the fact that we maintain high standards.” Lives depend on the law as well. Our charge is equally impactful to those we serve. For this reason, we must also ensure excellence in all we do. Whether a brief, motion, negotiation, or closing argument, our profession demands we provide our clients with the highest level of quality and service.

We must also remember that this core value reminds us to ensure “excellence in all we do.” It is not simply a charge for your professional life but your personal life as well. We cannot shirk our duties to our family, our friends, and our own well-being. It begins in the home with our spouses, children, and loved ones. While deployed to the Middle East, I committed myself to tucking my children into bed each night despite my distance and demands. Doing so required that I wake at 4 a.m. each day in the hopes of finding a wireless signal. My wife and children each received daily time, where we would catch up on the events of the day and read our nighttime stories. Regardless of the circumstances—or the time I was finally able to hit the sack—I was up the next morning ready to connect with my family. It was the most difficult part of my deployment and what I am most proud of accomplishing.

Striving for excellence also opens the aperture to unknown possibilities and opportunities. During a deployment to the Darién region of Panama, I witnessed tremendous poverty among a generous, kind, and spirited local population. My position in this region gave me an opportunity to take action and show like kindness. We began a small, personal campaign that ultimately raised several thousand dollars in food, clothing, and toys for the local children, which we donated to the various indigenous tribes across the region. When later deployed to the Middle East, we conducted a similar campaign that donated school supplies, clothing, and sports equipment to two local schools. Find opportunities in your practice to strive for excellence, seizing every opportunity to make an impact. It does not take much to leave a lasting legacy.

Officers of the law are bound by a duty and service that reflects military officership. You may never don a uniform, and the closest you may get to the military is taking the kids—or grandkids—to the local air show. Regardless, the principles found within the U.S. armed forces (in this case the Air Force) transcend the military and equally apply to all of us. Striving to achieve the noble goals of demonstrating integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do should remain at the forefront of our daily practice. Whether your function is in the courtroom, the boardroom, or the Pentagon, these values deepen society’s trust in our profession and take us one step closer to leaving a legacy of leadership.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect on the official policy or position of the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, or U.S. government.

AARON JACKSON
is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He is assigned as air staff counsel at the Pentagon. Prior to this assignment, Jackson was an assistant professor in the department of law at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. He is a distinguished graduate from the academy and has served in a variety of legal positions throughout his military career including assistant staff judge advocate, area defense counsel, special victims’ counsel, deputy staff judge advocate, and twice-deployed staff judge advocate.

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